After finally stringing together a few consecutive viewings of the Sixers, I thought I better check in and write some thoughts on Adelaide. Writing this morning is at an unfair time. Adelaide was on a six game winning streak before putting in a poor performance last night versus the Hawks, going down 104-97.
Adelaide's numbers lfrom last night don't look bad but don't reflect how few contributed in this one. The team shot 53% from the field, 41% on threes and hit free throws at 88%. The main problem was turnovers, which meant Adelaide took 13 less field goal attempts. Most of the turnovers were ambitious entry passes or players trying to make something from nothing.
On offense, most of the work was done by Jerome (28pts, 11/19 shooting) and the suddenly thriving Ebi Ere (23pts, 9/15 shooting). Their only real help came from Nathan Sobey, who was excellent at trying to push the tempo and attack the basket. When he was on, the Hawks were continually manic trying to get back, generally unable to keep up with him and Randle. Shame he only got 14 minutes. Adelaide looked so much better with him on.
Adam Gibson again was a shell of himself and it can only be put down to
b) Struggling to adapt with JR taking over the offense
c) Spending too much time on brisbanewatersideapartments.com
Brendan Teys has fallen off a cliff and seems to be lacking confidence and is also struggling to adapt to the "anyone's guess" minutes.
The frontcourt had a night to forget too. Lucas Walker tries hard but often doesn't think as hard. Peach always battles but struggled, understandably, on both ends versus Ogilvy. Mitch Creek ran around looking lost for most of the game.
Then there's DJ.
As often happens when he comes up against a beast, he was pushed around under the basket and on offense resorted to lazy outside shots. He's had some excellent games during the streak but it's worth noting he didn't face Khazzouh, Jawai or AJ during that stretch.
The Hawks were very solid and were brilliantly led by Lisch (27 pts on 11/17 shooting, 7 boards 3 steals). His defense was very good and he continually attacked Adelaide's interior. Ogilvy (21pts, 9 rebounds) shut down the interior for Adelaide and gave the Hawks a real target at the other end. Rhys Martin (17 pts) was also handy.
Adelaide gets another crack Saturday at the Hawks. Penney will again be out and this time Adelaide gets a go on their home court. That will help. I'm backing Adelaide to recover. This is their second last home game for the year and they must clinch both home games to secure a top 4 spot.
Speaking of finals, expect the Top 4 to remain as it is. I'm picking........
-Perth to win it's last 4 games and finish top
-Melbourne to go 1-3 and drop to third (17/11)
-Illawarra to go 3-1 and jump to second (18/10)
-Adelaide to go 3 and 2 and hold off New Zealand for fourth spot.
That would see another Perth/Adelaide playoff series. That could be a problem, with Perth holding the season series 3-0.
A lot to happen before then though.